People and auto consumers purchasing used vehicles usually have a precept and adage that the lower the miles or kilometers on the odometer the better. They often shy away from what be well considered well driven and well cared for cars all because they had too many miles on them – even though these vehicles were freeway driven with little actual use on the engine and power train. The Holy Grail seems to find a pre owned automobile with virtually no miles – driven by the proverbial little old lady from Pasadena only to church on Sundays. Yet the undriven low mileage vehicle may well be your worse automobile purchase.
Vehicles with very low miles suffer from a wrath of problems from their little use or extended storage. The California car above might well be a wiser choice than one from the northern states of the US or the cold climate up there to the North in Canada during frigid cold winter temperatures.
Low miles are hard or a car and its engine. Usually low miles mean short trips only – that is to the supermarket or church. The engine never fully warms up. Hence water condenses in the crankcase from condensate from outside humidity touching the cold engine metal. Next because the trips in the car are so short the engine and its oil never fully warm and heat up to boil off or evaporate the resulting water and liquid that sits in the engine oil. Hence the engine is not properly lubricated. Each time the engine starts in this cold condition is like starting a warm engine many times. In the cold frigid winter of the northern states or the Canadian prairie provinces one cold start in the – minus 20 to – minus 40 range without the engine being warmed by a electric plug in block heater has the full effect on engine wear and tear to thousands of warm weather starts. Higher viscosity oil at lower temperatures thickens up, it’s not until the engine warms up does this thick oil flow, spread and lubricate the engine and its vital components.
On top of that since the car is used so little and so few miles on the road usually the owners figure that the car needs less maintenance and oil changes – since has been hardly used or driven. You can also bet also that as a result thicker summer oil is in the crankcase for the winter, or perhaps thinner winter oil is carried over to the summer engine crankcase oil.
However thinner oil in this type of vehicle with these driving conditions may not overall is a bad idea.
Lastly cars that sit without use may have components deteriorate due to lack of use. Rubber over time deteriorates – not only tires but seals along door frames and even in the engine. Hence that low mileage car may need replacement tires and door rubber seal and tubing replacements. Figure these in as part of your overall costs and charges for that premium low mileage car.
Lastly if the car is left out in the sun – as in the Californian little old lady example take time to examine the automobiles’ body finish for tarnish. The paint may seem fine that is until you conduct a thorough cleaning and polish. Happy driving.